The Coronavirus pandemic has brought many problems for the country. But as usual, the main sufferer of any problem in the country is the worker class. It the series of the problem faced by them, one more has been added as Riga sugar mill in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district has removed 600 workers without prior notice, although “temporarily”. The workers got to know about their removal by a letter which was posted by the mill management at the gate of the mill in English, stating that they were laid off, cutting increasing loss and bank loss. The notice read that there would be no work for workers, including seasonal workers covered under the wage board award of sugar industries, due to the temporary shutdown at the sugar plant from May 11 to July 11, 2020, further the mill management made it very clear that the workers will not be paid for this period.
As recorded by a local newspaper, Mr. Shashi Gupta, an official of the mill said that the sugar mill has been facing a financial crisis for a long time. The mill had taken a loan of Rs. 12 crores from the bank but has failed to repay it so far. Last month, the management had demanded a soft loan of Rs. 40 crore from the state government to pay dues of the sugarcane farmers and workers, but to no avail.
- Elephant Death Case; False Media Report Triggers Anti-Muslim Hate in Kerala
- Bombay High Court Serves Notice to Union Government on PM-CARES, Seeks Details
Showing their descent, workers have protested in front of the main gate of the mill which was closed by the mill management on May 11 and 12. Sugar mill worker union’s head Mr. Manoj Kumar, talking to the News Click, said “The mill management’s decision is not only inhuman and but also against the labour laws”. Working in the sugar mill is the only way the workers to earn their bread and butter. No, they are left with no other option but to struggle each day to live. Mr. Kumar added that the labour will not remain silent and will protest.
According to the Sugarcane Development Department, the sugar mill count of the state is 28out of which 17 mills are closed with 11 in operation, whereas the shutdown has lowered the count to 10.
The problem is not just for the workers of the mill, it is also for the sugarcane farmers. Two sugarcane farmers have informed the News Click that the mill management has not paid arrears worth Rs. 112 crores to them. Further, it is even though last month, the state government had directed all 11 private sugar mill owners to pay the pending dues to the farmers given the Coronavirus pandemic.
In this time when workers are struggling to live, it is very inhumane of the mill and the other industries to take the jobs of the workers that too without giving any prior notice. It will increase the problems of the workers.